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Stem Cell Expert Reveals Future Use For Treatment

Stem Cell Expert Reveals Future Use For Disease Treatment

Australia’s leading expert on stem cell research and a pioneer of reproductive medicine, Professor Alan Trounson, is the keynote speaker at the Inaugural Canterbury Health Science Research conference this weekend. His address, which is open to the public, is to be delivered at 7pm in the Rolleston Lecture Theatre on “ Stem Cells, Differentiation and Tissue Repair”.

The Conference opens on Sunday evening (September 5) at the Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Otago University. It has been organised by the Christchurch Medical Research Society and the Canterbury Medical Research Foundation.

Conference convenor Dr Geoff Shaw says Canterbury is very fortunate to have a health researcher of the calibre of Professor Trounson address the inaugural conference.

“We’re waiting with anticipation for this address. Professor Trounson is a leading international authority and we’re very lucky to have him. Stem cells are the brave new world of medical science and a very controversial subject associated not only with cloning, but also the potential treatment of previously incurable diseases.”

Professor Trounson is well known for his research on the use of embryonic stem cells for the treatment of a range of diseases. He is also a pioneer in the use of human in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and associated reproduction technologies.

He is currently head of the Monash Immunology and Stem Cell Laboratories in Melbourne, recently established with a $46 million dollar Government grant. In 2001 his team of scientists claimed a world first in the quest to develop therapeutic cloning techniques for the treatment of diseases such as HIV, Alzheimer’s and Diabetes by proving that cells could be grown using a patient’s DNA.

Stem cells are the body’s unprogrammed ‘master’ cells. Normally found in early-stage embryos, scientists believe they can also be collected from adult bone marrow and potentially developed into any tissue in the human body. Fertility scientists like Trounson say it is only a matter of time before the technique is also used to develop sperm and eggs cells, making infertility a thing of the past.

The public are invited to Professor Trounson’s address, and to the following debate at 8pm on ‘What Should N.Z.’s Health Research Strategy Be?’ with Professor Mark Richards, Associate Professor Tony Kettle, Associate Health Minister Ruth Dyson and the National Party’s Research, Science and Technology spokesperson Dr Paul Hutchison. This promises to be a feisty occasion.

On Monday from 9am there will be nearly 50 presentations in the Rolleston Lecture Theatre by researchers from the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Canterbury DHB, University of Canterbury and Lincoln University on a range of fascinating health issues. Just some of the areas covered are cancer, anorexia and asthma, oxidative stress, public health, cardiovascular system, neuroscience and motor control.

To view the full conference programme and abstracts visit website http://www.cmrf.org.nz/index.php?page=conference

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